In first ever interview after Kokobeh, Defiant Emmerson further bashes politicians
“I hope to see a nation where our mineral resources would reflect in the lives of each and every Sierra Leonean.”
Emmerson Bockarie is arguably Sierra Leone’s most popular musicians. The ‘Borbor Bele’ star has gained recognition far and wide, mostly for his ‘social commentaries’ on issues affecting the masses. Emmerson, as he is better known, was recently honored by President Ernest Bai Koroma with Sierra Leone`s highest award for his work. His 4th album which is his latest LP; ‘Home and Away – Last Man Standing’, released on Christmas Eve, is currently the most talked about album in the country.
One of the lyrics, ‘Kokobeh’, which has turned out to be the most controversial song in the album, has sparked heated debate nationally mostly on the social networks. Whilst the album is enjoying massive sales, critics say the artist did not just expose corruption but he crossed the line to insult the President. Emmerson is also accused of inciting tribal divide.In his first official interview after the release of his latest work, the artist sought to clarify these and so many issues. Find out what inspires Emmerson to do this album and what his New Year resolutions are. Read through…
Thank you very much for talking to us. First of all where are you presently?
Thank you SaloneJamboree for this interview and I wish our people in Sierra Leone and all over the world a Happy New Year. I am presently in the United State of America.
Emmerson, what inspired you to release your latest album ‘Home and Away-Last Man Standing’?
I am inspired by issues happening around my community, my society and my country at large. I am inspired by issues that I feel around me and issues that affect other Sierra Leoneans. As an artist, I have this creative license to voice out my opinion on some of those issues.
Now tell us why do you have to release this particular album on Christmas Eve?
Honestly, it was not intentional. In fact, I thought releasing this album on Christmas Eve would be a disadvantage to me.It came out on Christmas Eve and through the grace of Jesus Christ, things have always worked out to my advantage. It came out as a Christmas present to all and the rest they say is history.
What about the sales so far?
So far so good, the sales are going fine.
What do you hope to achieve with this particular album?
Well for me, I see my musical career as a journey and every music album I release is a testimony on the way to a united and sweet Sierra Leone through music. I hope to see a nation where our mineral resources would reflect the lives of each and every Sierra Leonean, a nation that is rich in minerals and also a good standard of living for its people and I think ‘Home and Away-Last Man Standing’ as helping us to achieve that.
In ‘Kokobeh’ some Observers suggested that you went too far in referring to the Temnes as the only tribe that is getting the attention of the President in terms of jobs. Some say this has the potential to further divide Sierra Leone on tribal lines. What’s your take?
If only we are true to ourselves and patriotic enough,regardless our tribal lines, we will attest that this is not new. Whenever Green is in power, it is the Mende’s that dominates everything, and when Red comes to power, Temne’s dominate everything, which in my opinion has to stop because if it continues where do the minorities stand? It may sound harsh to the ears of those presently in position, but once they are out of power, they start pointing fingers at others, accusing them of the same crime. So my question is, ‘na so we go lef? You frade for talk am e go full up till e explode. Thank God a talk am’. We have always been scared of mentioning and constantly ignoring the above situation in our public statements in fear that it will broke out a fight or bring about differences. In my opinion nop!! I don’t think so. The Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans I know are very peaceful people and tolerant to each other.
Unlike other countries where intermarriages, association and so forth are major issues, the only time Sierra Leoneans tend to practice and show differences is during general Elections which again is influenced by the same greedy and selfish politicians within these two political parties, who use that for their own gains.
Sounds funny to me when you hear people accuse you of their own deeds and practice, only to seek refuge behind their accusations. If by saying this means I’m tribalistic, then I wonder where we heading, and what this country will become in few years down the line.
Critics say this is the second album after ‘Yesterday Bette Pas Tiday’ that you are releasing against the ruling government? Some are suggesting that this must be the hand work of the opposition, what’s
your position on this?
That does not sound new to my ears at all, it sounds like the sweet synth on the background of the ‘Kokobeh’ song and the wonderful base line on ‘Borbor belleh’. In 2004, I was also accused of been sponsored and paid by the present Government, then opposition, to release the ‘Bobor belleh’ album. Fast forward to today, and now they are accusing me of been paid by the opposition to sing ‘Kokobeh’. ‘Una nor dey fen new Stunt,
In the same ‘Kokobeh’ song, you said “you are praying for God to remove the present sense of the President and give him a divine sense. Don’t you think you cross the line there also?
I don’t think I crossed the line. Who does not need God`s divine wisdom? I don’t think the President does not need divine wisdom and the direction of God Almighty, Creator of all living things in
heaven and on earth, most Powerful, Omnipresent, Omnipotent and the mechanic of all mechanisms. But if my critics thinks he’s self-sufficient and so wise enough and doesn’t need God`s divine wisdom, then ‘me mort nor dey pan tha talk dey again’.
You sneaked into Sierra Leone recently to pick up your son and left immediately few days later. Are you anyway afraid of anything or is this the beginning of a self exile?
Self Exile? From who?? Greater is He that is in me than the Devil. I’m a frequent flyer and a 2014 and 21st Century entertainer who needs a faster internet facility and constant electricity supply to expose my music beyond Salone borders. Sadly, millions have been given to my government to provide these facilities, and the fiber optic cable still ‘nor get taxi for reach yate’ [is unable to reach its destination], and the Bumbuna cable still ‘nor get 2 volt yate’ [hasn’t exceed 2 volt yet] ignite a touch
light bulb. So I have to be flying frequently to other countries in search of these facilities, which is very hard for me as an entertainer in another mans land.
How can someone get your album outside Sierra Leone?
It will be available on Amazon, i-Tunes, and and on CD from the 8th of January but presently you can get it on salontruefans.com
What’s your New Year resolution for 2014?
These are just few. My # 1. resolution is the prayer I said for my president, seeking divine wisdom through prayers. 2. Seeking the face of God and try my best to walk in his statute, not going to listen to the voice of man but the swift small voice in my head. 3.Seeking my purpose here on Planet Earth and confessing the goodness of God in my life. 4. praying for a constant cleansing from ‘badat’ [wickedness], covetousness, envy, and love and respect for all, no matter your class in society. 5. Be a friend of the truth and ready to voice out the cries or appreciation of the poor man to the government, despite the consequences, rather than being friends with ‘Kokobeh’ and ‘Bobor belle’ and having financial gains. 6. Love and spend more time with my family and praying.
Are you hopeful that things might get better for the people of Sierra Leone in 2014?
Yes!! I do believe, with God’s direction, we all ‘go’ [will] enjoy because nothing is too hard or impossible for God.Despite that we’ve spent six good years ‘dey hala hala the pa dey wok pan patch patch and cut ya put ya’ [making noise that the Pa is working], four years is not too small for God to fix the impossible. But other than that, there is no hope at all!
Your last word Sir?
I am encouraging all Sierra Leoneans, Muslims and Christians, to do a general fasting and praying throughout the country, at least one or two days of the month, praying only for the country and not ourselves, while the Pa focuses on working for we all benefit. Prayer changes everything that is my last word for now.
Courtesy of Salone Jamboree
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